The idea, by Sheriff Joe Lombardo, to split up the existing Burglary Section, in the Investigations Services Bureau, is really a bad idea.
If I am understanding what is going to happen, it’s to divide up the Burglary Section and spread the Burglary Detectives throughout the Police Substations, which, in my opinion, will be totally ineffective as these Detectives will not be aware that other Police Substations may be working the exact same series of Burglaries, thus duplicating the effort. More than likely the next thing that will happen is that these substation burglary detectives will be placed in police uniforms and will be considered “Multi-faceted police officers” to be used as supplemental officers, in case the need arises.
I can remember back in 1982, when I was on the SWAT Team, the same thing happened, committed by the Police Administration, in that the SWAT Team was to be dismantled, and the members would be assigned to various patrol squads to help supplement the existing patrol force. The members of the SWAT Team were still required to carry with them at least 200 pounds of SWAT gear and still be available to handle and participate in a SWAT situation, on a 24/7 schedule. This system, dreamed up by the Police Administration, failed miserably, and was soon abandoned. The new SWAT was formed again, and to this day remains an independent unit.
If this decentralization plan is implemented, the next section that will be dismantled will be Juvenile Sexual Assault, or Maybe the Fraud section, then maybe the Robbery section, or even Homicide section, and then the creation of a General Detective who will handle everything combined.
Since the Police upper management has not done any real police work in years, they have a varied and skewed idea of how to do investigative police work. This is commonly described as TV police work. The cases that will be submitted will be flawed, not timely, and totally unprofessional, as the Detectives that submit the criminal cases will not have the time to do the necessary footwork to solve the case. What the bosses fail to understand is that a great deal of concentration and time is needed to put together a proper criminal case that involves possibly two or more participants and a multitude of witnesses and victims. If the Detective is working numerous other cases, then they do not have time to put a police uniform on — as opposed to wearing plain clothes — and to join a patrol function, at the same time.
This decentralizing strategy has been tried numerous times, and has resulted in complete failure and confusion.
I am wondering if this is just a political maneuver by the police administration to justify earning their salary in some way. Until anyone has experienced this decentralizing experience as I have, they cannot appreciate what a waste of manpower and money it will be to start decentralizing Detectives and the criminal investigation system. In simple terms, the Patrol Bureau is considered “fast food” and the Detective Bureau is the “gourmet meal.”
I personally have experienced this decentralizing method and allocation of personnel where we are spread all over the city and nobody knows what anybody else is doing or what they are working on. As with the implementation of a previous failed plan, it will be necessary to point out to the police administration that the decentralization plan is not working very well and is a stupid idea, much like our previous $68 million police radio system. This plan may be politically motivated to impress the general public — in that the police department is doing something really good — but in reality it is doing something really dumb. Please prove to me that decentralization is a positive step in making our police force more effective, and I will eat my words.
Remember to Keep your Faith, Keep you Gun, and they can Keep their change.
In God We Trust